Indian comics
Earliest publications 1960s

Indian comics (known as Chitrakatha[1]) are comic books and graphic novels associated with the culture of India published in English and a number of Indian languages.

India has a long tradition of comic readership and themes associated with extensive religious myths and folk-tales have appeared as children's comic books for decades.[2] Indian comics often have large publication. The comic industry was at its peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s and during this period popular comics were easily sold more than 500,000 copies over the course of its shelf life of several weeks. Currently, it only sell around 50,000 copies over a similar period.[3] India's once-flourishing comic industry is in sharp decline because of increasing competition from satellite television (children's television channels) and the gaming industry.[4]

Over the last three decades Diamond Comics, Raj Comics, Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha have established vast distribution networks countrywide and are read by hundreds of thousands of children in a wide range of languages.[5] Famous comic creators from India include Aabid Surti, Uncle Pai and cartoonist Pran Kumar Sharmaand famous characters are Chacha Chaudhary, Bahadur, Detective Moochwala, Nagraj, Super Commando Dhruva, Doga, Suppandi and Shikari Shambhu.[1] [3] Anant Pai, affectionately known as "Uncle Pai," is credited with helping to launch India's comic book industry in the 1960s with his "Amar Chitra Katha" series chronicling the ancient Hindu mythologies.[6]

Publication history

India's comic industry began in the mid-1960s when the leading newspaper The Times of India launched Indrajal Comics. The industry evolved later in India than in the West. Up until the late 1960s the comics were only enjoyed by the children of wealthy parents. But from that time until the early 1990s they established themselves in the market.[4] The evolution of Indian comics can be broadly divided into four phases. Around 1950s saw syndicated strips like The Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon, Rip Kirby being translated to Indian languages. The success of such comic books was followed by a swarm of publishers trying to emulate these titles. The second phase in the late 1960s came in the form of Amar Chitra Katha (literally translated as "immortal picture stories"), comics with hundred percentage Indian content.[1]

[[wikipedia:Image:Spider-Man India.jpg|left|thumb|The Indian adaptation of Spider-Man, Spider-Man:India, was mainly bought by collectors|]]

In the 1970s several indigenous comics were launched to rival the Western superhero comics.[4] The superhero comics in the early '80s marked the third wave, with creators and publishers hoping to benefit from the success of the superhero genre in the West.[1] However, one of India's earliest superheroes is Batul the Great, was created during the 1960s.[3] In the 1980s, at least 5.5 million copies of comics such as Heroes of Faith series were sold in India.[4] Dozens of publishers churned out hundreds of such comic books every month, but this trend nosedived in the late '90s with the advent of cable television, Internet and other modes of entertainment in India. However, publishers like Raj Comics and Diamond Comics along with comics like Amar Chitra Katha (with characters such as Suppandi[4]) have been able to sustain their readership. After a lull, new publishing companies such as the Virgin Comics has appeared on the market in the last few years.[1] Comic publishers meanwhile have been accused by critics of lacking innovation in the face of digital competition.[4]

India hosted its first ever comics convention in February 2011.[7] According to estimates, the Indian comic publishing industry is worth over 100 million dollars.[8]

See also

  • Hawley, John Stratton. 'The Saints Subdued: Domestic Virtue and National Integration in Amar Chitra Katha' in Media and the Transformation of Religion in South Asia, eds. Lawrence A Babb, Susan S. Wadley, Motilal Banarasidas, 1998.
  • MacLain, Karline. India's Immortal Comic Books: Gods, Kings, and Other Heroes, Indiana University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-253-22052-3.
  • Pritchett, Frances W. 'The World of Amar Chitra Katha' in Media and the Transformation of Religion in South Asia, eds. Lawrence A Babb, Susan S. Wadley, Motilal Banarasidas, 1998.
  • Lent, John A., Comic Art of Africa, Asia, Australia, and Latin America Through 2000: An International Bibliography, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Shweta Sharma (13 November 2011). "Documentary homage to comics Gods". Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  2. Patel, Atish. "Graphic novelists shake up world of Indian comics". Reuters. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Business Line : Features / Weekend Life : Homecoming for the superheroes". Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 "BBC News – Changing habits illustrate decline of India's comics". 27 November 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  5. "Comic, Dead Serious | Samit Basu". 3 May 2004. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  6. The Associated Press – Fri 25 February 2011 (25 February 2011). "Indian comic book pioneer 'Uncle Pai' dies at 81 – Yahoo! News India". Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  7. "India gets its own Comic Con". Telegraph. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  8. "How social media is boosting comic industry". [[wikipedia:The Times of India|]]. [[wikipedia:The Times Group|]]. 3 January 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 

External links

Category:Indian comics artists Category:Indian comics Category:Indian literature

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